Change is tough, always has been. The coronavirus crisis is forcing the biggest changes the world has seen in almost a century. In other words – in all our lifetimes. But resistance, apathy, and ignorance to change is more than dangerous to your business; it’s practically negligent.

We’re in survival of the fittest mode and those that don’t adapt to the change, will fail to see what comes next.

Sequoia Capital (one of the world’s largest Venture Capitalist Companies) labelled the current situation, ‘the Black Swan of 2020’. Their recently released statement is sobering, yet enlightening.

Cisco rose from the crash of 1987; Google battled through and then prospered, following the dotcom crash; Airbnb launched from the doom and gloom of the GFC, in 2008. Whether, or not, those companies understood it at the time is irrelevant.

The lesson remains. Change is not the end of the book; it’s simply the beginning of the next chapter. So rather than freeze, stagnate, and wait to see what will happen, change is a time for new opportunities. Change is a time to prepare to prosper.

The question is, how are you placed to both spot and take advantage of the situation? The challenge is being able to cut through the fear and anxiety inherent in the crisis being caused by coronavirus. This is the perfect time to identify the opportunities and plan how to make the most of them.

Despite the acute difficulties and the human cost of this crisis, life will go on.

Here are four key strategic initiatives that businesses should be looking at now to prepare them for what comes next, after COVID-19. And help create some welcome focus in their brands.

Fear can paralyse; yet opportunity awaits for those that over come it.
  1. Demonstrate your value to your customers in a new context:
  • How are your customers feeling? How are they behaving? What are they telling you? What signals are you perceiving? What are your data sources telling you?
  • Armed with this new insight, what advice can you give to help them through this process, respective to the product or service you provide? It’s important to ensure relevant context the category/industry you represent in order to keep your brand and business front of mind.
  • Change the angle of your communications from sales or business development to engagement at a deeper brand-led level.
  1. Take stock of your brand and its perception:
  • Business is impacted wildly at times of global upheaval, and coronavirus/COVID-19 is no exception
  • It’s business not-as-usual and that’s a great opportunity to look at the projects you had ‘parked’ or constantly ‘bumped’
  • Resources can therefore be redeployed – a good move when many will be feeling anxious and insecure: keeping busy is great for helping your team feel useful and stave of those anxious feelings.
  1. Start planning for what’s coming ‘next’:
  • How will your customers adapt in a place where any lingering stigma about remote working and working from home will have disappeared?
  • If you’re a B2B organisation, what impact will this have on your customers’ businesses, and how can your business help them adapt?
  • What are the social and cultural trends that will change? And how will those changes affect the way you need to both position yourself to, and communicate with your customers? Finding the answers to questions like these can be tricky, as it often requires resources to get out of their routines and comfort zones – and even harder in times of extra anxiety
  1. And lastly, assess what this means for your company and how it needs to adapt:
  • What opportunities can you uncover?
  • How are you currently positioned to take advantage of them?
  • What resources do you have, and how can you deploy them in such a way that you maximise your chances of successful outcomes?
  • People need hope, it cures fear. And there’s an awful lot of this right now. Showing a willingness to identify and pivot operations towards planning for new opportunities and focusing resources accordingly gives people a new sense of purpose.

Now is a time for leadership, we’re seeing this all around the world. It’s a tough time to be a political leader. It’s also a tough time to be a business leader. No one is comfortable with this much uncertainty. Yet, even leaders need help – from department heads to company heads. No-one knows what’s going to come next. But with the right support and planning, we can be ready for it.

If you’re a leader on whom people are relying for direction, the initiatives above can help you create the calm your team needs to focus on the future. People – like brands – need a purpose; it’s what drives us. Anxiety about the short-term can derail them. But you can give your people hope. Give them a plan.

When it comes to planning how your business can ready itself for what comes next, who better than nextThursday? After all, it’s in our name. With a proven track record of helping brands define and redefine themselves, grow market share, solve complex problems and ultimately succeed; we can’t wait to help yours rise up and refocus. The sooner, the better.

Let’s chat anytime between now and nextThursday.


Head Of Strategy & Group Account Director, next Thursday